DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – An invasive earthworm native to east Asia has been confirmed in Dubuque County.
It’s the first time the insect has been discovered in Iowa. Along with Dubuque County, it has also just been confirmed in Muscatine County.
The Iowa Agriculture Department says they’re usually called jumping worms because of their vigorous wriggling when disturbed. They’re also referred to as crazy worms or Alabama jumpers.
They can grow up to 8 inches long and are found closer to the soil surface than other earthworms and found amid leaf litter.
The department says leaf litter protects open areas of land. When the worms consume the litter and soil, the land is subject to compaction, increased water runoff and erosion.
The department recommends against moving compost, mulch and/or topsoil from potentially infested areas and against moving plants from the infested counties.
If you believe you might have jumping worms, please take photos or videos and, if possible, catch the worm and submit the sample to the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic.
(photo courtesy of Iowa Agriculture Dept.)